The "renovations" to Ohio Stadium announced this week naturally sparked a great deal of praise, criticism and outrage. The outrage - apparently expressed solely on social media, if an Ohio State official's claim of "no negative feedback" is true - centered on the 2,600 seats that will be replaced by 12 luxury suites and 35 four-seat loges.
The "renovations" to Ohio Stadium announced this week naturally sparked a great deal of praise, criticism and outrage.
The outrage - apparently expressed solely on social media, if an Ohio State official's claim of "no negative feedback" is true - centered on the 2,600 seats that will be replaced by 12 luxury suites and 35 four-seat loges. Many interpreted this as the little guy getting flicked aside by a giant, money-gulping university that is taking care of its rich, big donors.
I'm not sure why anyone given a chance to buy end zone seats for a Northern Illinois or Western Michigan game might think this. If it were true, I would dive headfirst into social media to help rescue the little guy, who is having what little chance he has to attend Ohio State football games stolen from him. Unfortunately, it isn't quite that simple.
The little guy has actually had plenty of chances to buy terrible tickets for bad games at high prices, and for some reason, he has mostly declined. He has often been treated with callous indifference, but this time isn't one of them.
He probably should have been grateful for previous additions of bad seats to an already-enormous stadium, even after general ticket prices went from $70 to $79 in 2013. But he has been left behind with the tying of good tickets to significant donations, which determine when you choose seats. That has left the average fan either in bad seats or watching at home.
This latest move didn't steal seats from anyone. It was made in part to make up for the mistake the school made last year when it added 2,600 bad seats to the South Stands that were needed for only a few games a season, if that.
The rest of the time, nobody - little guy, big guy, clueless visiting tourist - wants to pay $79 per ticket plus $50 to park to see the Buckeyes hammer a team that shouldn't even be on the schedule, or in some cases, the conference.
But suites bring in more dollars and less discriminating buyers. Big businesses and well-heeled donors don't care much about the quality of the opponents because they are partying in their private boxes, where some of their guests aren't even aware that there is a football game. A chance to hang out at the stadium on a fall Saturday is a nice perk to offer clients, employees, family and friends.
It's a worthwhile investment in an area of 2 million with a seemingly insatiable appetite for everything Buckeye, and the school can sell those a lot easier than it can $79 tickets in the top row for a game against Rutgers.
That's why the 81 suites that were added when Ohio Stadium was renovated in 2001 haven't totally satisfied demand and why there is a waiting list of people and companies that want one of the 12 suites this renovation will add.
This isn't nirvana. It was once thought the stadium could be expanded to 140,000 or 150,000 seats and still sell out every game, but mostly because of the school's policies regarding donor points, luxury suites and ticket prices, that's no longer true.
Others can decide which scenario is truly better for the program.
Bob Hunter is a sports columnist for The Dispatch.